Tirgearr Publishing Celebrates Six Wonderful Months!

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Congratulations Tirgearr Publishing on your six month anniversary! As a special treat, my new publisher (and amazing author in her own right) Kemberlee Shortland agreed to by my guest here on Dellani’s Choice. I hope you enjoy getting to know her as much as I have.

When did you start writing?

I learned to write when I was young as a result of learning to read early. I used to get picture books from the library and bring them home to write their stories. My first story written without pictorial inspiration was in 5th grade. It was called Mickey the Mouse (yes, very original!) and was about the exploits of a little mouse called Mickey. Go figure! It was a tiny book, but I put all the pages together and a red construction paper cover and stapled it together and handed it in for extra credit. I clearly remember my teaching saying, “Not more extra credit! How can you earn extra credit if you’re not doing real credit work?” I had that little story for a long time but it’s gotten lost in one of my moves. Too bad.
Where do you get your ideas?

Everywhere. Observation. People-watching. Research. Life. My first novel, A Piece of My Heart, was actually inspired by our Border Collie, Daisie.
What genre do you write?

As myself, I write romance. Currently, I’m focused on my Irish Pride series, which are contemporaries set in Ireland. My WIP is an Irish set historical but I have an idea for a series of crime novellas with a great heroine I’d love to get my teeth into.

As my doppelganger, Scarlett Valentine, I write erotica. Scarlett is around for one series: The ABCs of S-E-X: Love by the Letter. Erotica tales which have started with A is for Awakening. B is up next with Beguiler, then C is for Conquered, then D is for . . .
How to you balance real life and writing?

With a see-saw! Seriously. On one side is my writing and work. On the other side is my ‘other life.’ It’s a challenge keeping both sides in balance so that one of them doesn’t crash on the ground. You know how physics works. The crash on one side will make the other side flip everything in the air. The key is trying not to overload either side. When that happens, I find myself running between the opposite side trying to keep things balanced. I’m hopeless. I have a very difficult time with the word ‘no.’ It’s just too bad all this running back and forth isn’t considered real exercise!
What do you do to keep yourself focused?

Depends what I’m doing. If my heart is really into a project, you can’t unfocus me. I usually require quiet around me when I’m writing or editing. If I’m doing graphic design, I love music on {don’t tell anyone, but my guilty pleasure at the moment is Adam Lambert!}
What is your writing process?

I treat writing a book like a road trip. I get out the map and a highlighter (paper and pen, aka MS Word) and mark my starting point (chapter one) and my destination (‘the end’). Then I look at what I want to happen between those places (the plot) and start writing up my itinerary (synopsis). Then I put my butt in the chair, turn on my computer, and try not forgetting to take out the dogs!

Like any journey, as I’m travelling along, I might see a sign for something really interesting (added plot development) which will take me away from my itinerary. If it’s a really cool place, I might trade one destination (plot element) for another before getting back on the road for my ultimate destination. Sometimes I can afford to add an extra day (chapter) to the journey (story) if I think the added day will really enhance my travel experience.

The great thing about writing like a road trip is if I make a wrong turn, I can always reverse and go back to a junction (place in the story) where I know where I was and try another route (new plot element). I love cars (my new PC) and road trips (writing stories)! I also really love cars (cars) and road trips (travelling)
How do you find your voice?

I don’t think we find our voice. I think we either have one or we don’t. My style of writing is mine and I get into the rhythm of it quickly if the story is going well. Maybe the question should be ‘how do I find my rhythm?’ That answer usually has to do with my to-do list for the day and distractions. At the moment, it’s the bit of sun we’re finally getting in Ireland! And . . . oh, look, butterflies!
Do you know your ending before you begin?

Not always. Sometimes I do, but a lot of the time I get the beginning and middle in my head and hope the end sorts itself out by the time I get there. My characters are good at telling me when their story has been told. Sometimes they sneak back and tap me on the shoulder, like Mick and Kate from A Piece of My Heart. They made me write a little follow-on I called Constant Craving which was their ‘year on’ story. The ‘what happened after the HEA?’ story. A lot of readers enjoyed the story and are now asking me for a year ‘follow on’ story for Kieran and Eilis from Rhythm of My Heart. Goes to show that just because I think a story is done, something like reader demand can take me back.
How do you overcome writer’s block or lack of inspiration to write?

I don’t believe in writer’s block —
http://www.hearticles.blogspot.ie/2010/09/fallacy-of-writers-block.html
Who is your favorite literary character and why?

There are so many great ones out there. It’s hard to choose just one. I were choosing my own favorite character, one that I’ve written, I have to say it’s Kieran from Rhythm of My Heart. He’s his own man and he knows his heart. He has passions and desires and goes after what he wants. He’d never purposefully hurt anyone unless he was protecting someone and he’s never self-centered or self-absorbed. He’s a real gentleman.

In one scene, Eilis and her friend are taking a long weekend away with her infant godson. Kieran has followed them and after a fairly important moment, he whisks Eilis away to talk to her. He has ready to get on the back of his motorcycle. He’s finally got her to stop running away from him so they can talk. Then suddenly, Eilis’s friend, Megan, appears to say the sitter rang to say her son is sick. The family doctor has been called for a house call and Eilis needs to go with Megan. Rather than being a jerk about it, Kieran tells Eilis to go. The boy comes first before the man’s libido. He’s all about getting Eilis to trust him. In the moment’s leading up to this scene, he’d kissed the socks off her and she realized she really does feel something for him too, and talking is probably a really good idea. One hurdle of trust successfully crossed. The second one is when he doesn’t protest about her going to her godson. He knows he’s made two steps closer to winning her heart and now he has to be patient. Things will happen in their own time. He can’t force it. All these things, and more, especially how he treats Eilis in more intimate surroundings, makes him the ultimate hero in my eyes. And it doesn’t hurt he has a deep voice, rides a Harley and is sexy as all heck! Plus, I must say, much of Kieran was gleaned from my own Irishman.

If I were choosing a character from another author’s works, one would have to be Dane Hollister from Linda Howard’s book, Dream Man. He’s a real charmer and he knows it. Head strong, impulsive and has a cheeky come back for everything. My favorite quote from the book comes toward the end when Dane is talking to Marlie about going to the mountains and she asks him what they’re doing to do all the way up there. He replies, “We’ll rent a cabin with a hot tub, get naked, unwind, and shock the squirrels.” That one line says so much about his intentions; there’s no mistaking them.

In another Linda Howard book, Mr. Perfect, Sam Donovan is an obnoxious neighbour to Jaine Bright who’s just the bought house beside him. It’s into cars (big loud ones), works late hours, and comes home looking very rough. She’s sure he’s a drug dealer. The scene that’s speaks volumes about Sam’s character is one where it’s early morning and he’s come home much as always. He gets out of his work clothes and is walking around in his own house completely naked. He’s in the kitchen making coffee, or whatever. Perfectly natural for a bachelor in his own house, right? Well, Jaine is up early too because he’d come home very loud again and woke her up, so she’s up making coffee. She looks out her kitchen window and sees Sam in his kitchen, as the curtains are open. And he’s totally naked. And she gets angry! When she confronts him about it, it’s obvious she got a good eyeful of Sam in the altogether. He gives her a piece of his mind, telling her he’s in his own home and he’ll dress as he likes, or undress as the case may be. She rails that she could see everything, and she meant ev-er-y-thang! He just grins and makes a smart aleck comment, telling her to stop peeping through his windows. Well, that shut her up! Love it!!

Linda writes some fabulous heroes!! I could go on. But her heroines are pretty great too. Jaine Bright is a real pip and what she has hidden in her garage will have Sam begging for . . . well, I can’t say because the book really has to be read
Why is conflict important?
Makes things a bit interesting, doesn’t it? See the above examples. It’s that little bit (or a lot a bit) of drama. Readers like to read stories where the characters are struggling with something . . . personal issue, a crime, finding love, work, or even just trying to get your neighbor to pull is curtains or get the other to stop peeping through windows. Readers like getting into the characters’ heads to find out why there are issues, then they like to see how those characters resolve their issues to find their HEA . . . happily ever after . . . or happy for now ending. Without some conflict or drama, a story would be “Johnny met Sally. The end.” Conflict is that whole middle bit of the story, the reason we read books. It’s the part that draws us in and keeps out attention through the book as we watch, like a voyeur, how the characters work through things. Readers like to know that if they have similar issues in their lives that they, too, can find their own HEA . . . or happy for now ending.
What is the purpose of dialog?

Great question. Dialog, in my opinion, is important because it drives the story forward. Probably more so than conflict. It can take the place of narration and double as descriptive writing. Consider: ‘Johhny looked at the slicker and thought it was a good time to groom his pony’ vs “Hey, Johnny, grab a couple slickers and come on over here. I’ll help you groom your pony.” Suddenly you have an image in your head of possibly a young man, a stables filled with horses, and perhaps his father who may have just given Johnny his very first pony. We don’t get any of that from the first line.

And you know what? People are intrinsically nosy. They’re always listening into other people’s conversations. They want to know what’s going on. Stories with a lot of dialog, especially back and forth banter, read quickly because readers want to know what’s happening next.  We’re such gossips!
What makes a good ending?

Depends on the story really. For romance or erotica, readers like a happy ending, or at least a ‘happy for now’. With hard core erotica/porn, the only happy ending the reader wants is physical. With romance and regular erotica, the happy ending is an emotionally satisfying one. Other genres, of course, have their own desired endings . . . catch the bad guy/gal, find the missing person, death of a loved one, reconnecting with friends from the past, discovering life on other planets, etc.

I must say that a good ending isn’t stand-alone. If the beginning and middle were standard or below standard, no amount of good ending will make a book a terrific book.
What is your latest release?

Ooh! I’m glad you asked. Rhythm of My Heart is my latest release. It’s part of the Irish Pride Series. A Piece of My Heart and Constant Craving were published two years ago so Rhythm of My Heart has been the dreaded ‘long awaited’ book.  (See excerpt below)

In a nutshell (why, oh, why do I always think of Austin Powers when I say this . . . “Help! I’m in a nutshell! How did I get into this nutshell? Look at the size of this bloody great big nutshell! What sort of shell has a nut like this? This is crazy!”

Kieran Vaughan is a blues guitarist with dreams of making it big. Eilis Kennedy is the artist’s rep who discovers him. He thinks he’ll be the Garth Brooks of the blues. She just about blows it at their first meeting, but when Kieran threatens to kiss her, everything Eilis vowed to put aside in her life is suddenly thrust before her. She never viewed herself as loveable or desirable—her ex pretty much convinced her she was fat and ugly . . . “And who would want you anyway like that?”—so she puts aside her dreams of marriage and family to concentrate on her career, one she’s exceptionally good at.

But when Kieran is so instantly attracted to her, she doesn’t know how to handle it and runs from him. Of course, Kieran sees hey could have something special and tries to get her to stop running away from him. Even if what he’s doing could be considered stalking! It’s Eilis’s sex-obsessed boss, Fergus Manley, who tried putting a wedge further between Kieran and Eilis. Fergus wants Eilis, whom he nicknames the Ice Princess because she’s the only woman to tell him no when it comes to sex. It just makes him want her more and he vows to have her at any cost. Lots of suspenseful stuff in this romance!
What other books do you have published?

As I mentioned above, A Piece of My Heart is also part of the Irish Pride Series. It was published two years ago. This one is a bit different from Rhythm of My Heart (set in Dublin City, a little in Killarney in County Kerry, and the last half in the mountains of West Cork in an area known as the County Bounds . . . boundary along a certain part of counties Cork and Kerry).

A Piece of My Heart is primarily set between Galway City and a region of County Galway called Connemara. There’s a little bit in Dublin City, but the majority of the story is set in Galway. Mick Spillane and Kate Conneelly grew up together on neighboring farms, their father’s pals since childhood, both having grown up on family land. Both of their parents thought Kate and Mick would marry, but after graduation, something happened and Mick takes . . . or makes . . . an opportunity to attend college in Dublin, getting out of the country life that he never really liked. As an only child, his parents understood his need for a bit of freedom before settling down, but Mick never wanted to return to the farm.

When his parents become ill, first his mother with breast cancer and then his father with emphysema, Kate is called in to offer palliative care, as she’s graduated top of her class from nursing school. Ten years after they split, Kate and Mick are forced together when they discover Mick’s father’s will has an addendum. Add to the mix a femme fatale from Dublin claiming Mick is the father of her unborn child and a murder on the farm! Lots of tension, to be sure, to be sure!

I have several short stories published as well. Constant Craving, as I mentioned, but before any of the Irish Pride books, my first published sort stories were set in my hometown back in California—Tutti-Frutti Blues and Dude Looks Like A Lady. Both are based on a couple crazy laws in my hometown: No eating ice cream on the streets of the town and a requirement of a permit to wear high heels! While the ice cream ban was lifted when Clint Eastwood became Mayor, the high heel permit is still on the books, though not really enforced.

After that were my first two Irish set short stories—Moondance and The Power of Love. Both of those are due to be rereleased by the end of the year. Moondance is the story about wishes made on a blue moon, and The Power of Love is a holiday story of hope and love. I think that’s my favorite one of all the shorts.

I’ve loads of other stories, but that’s my published list at the moment. And yes, I DO have a thing for naming books after song titles. It’s not your imagination.
Where are your books available?

Currently, all of my books are published at Tirgearr Publishing other than A Piece of My Heart which is still at Highland Press. My books are listed on my publishers’ website and through my own website. Here are some direct links —

http://www.kemberlee.com
http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com
http://www.amazon.com/Rhythm-Heart-Irish-Series-ebook/dp/B008LV27VK (link from here to my other titles on Kindle)
http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/kemberlee (my list of titles at Smashwords, which sells all eformats)

http://www.scarlett-valentine.com (as Scarlett Valentine)
http://www.amazon.com/Awakening-ABCs-S—X-ebook/dp/B005TYXJ6E (Scarlet on Kindle)
https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/scarlettvalentine (my work as Scarlett Valentine)

• Today, Tirgearr Publishing, is having a one-day only sale on all their current titles to celebrate their first 6 months in business. Today only, 29 August J. http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com and click on any of the books, or go to the authors or books section, or go to Kindle and type in Tirgearr Publishing and the full author list will come up to chose from. Oh, yeah, everything is 50% off!!!

Thanks for having me here today, Dellani. It was great chatting with you. I hope we can do it again soon.

The Little Man Pub, Dublin City
“Kieran?” called the young man at the door.
Kieran Vaughan looked up from where he sat on a tattered brown sofa. In the tiny storage room, kegs of beer and boxes of crisps lined one wall and cases of hard liquor lined another. A single naked bulb suspended from the ceiling barely illuminated the room, which doubled as a catchall for anything that probably should have been thrown away. The sofa and side table had been an afterthought when Murph decided to start entertaining his patrons. It certainly wasn’t the dressing room he’d dreamed of. And not for the first time, Kieran wondered if he should count himself amongst the throwaways.
“What?” Kieran knew his reply was a little too abrupt and attributed his irritability to the twisting in his stomach. He set his pint onto the table, still half-full.
He was expecting Murph with his pay, but instead, his gaze met with the stagehand, Murph’s 15-year-old son, John.
John was reedy and nervous by nature. His father wasn’t an easy man to work for, and Kieran imagined not easy to live with either. John’s skittishness was obvious when he stepped into the room, his narrow eyes down-turned.
“Da told me to give ye this.”
John practically threw the note at him then scurried from the room. Kieran gave it a cursory glance — a note that simply read, ‘Meet me at the bar. Eilis Kennedy.’
Another one.
He tossed the note onto the grimy table. It landed beside his pint glass.
He sank back against the lumpy sofa and shut his eyes, blocking out his surroundings.
How had he gotten himself into such a mess?
This wasn’t what he’d expected when he’d set out to play his music. Seedy pubs, cheap drunks and slappers whose ages couldn’t be determined from all the make-up they wore. Not that anyone was looking at their faces when their arses were hanging out from under their miniskirts.
His stomach roiled again at the thought of the women who frequented The Little Man Pub.
“Feckin’ hell!” The curse choked him.
What the hell was he doing here anyway? If he wanted to make it big, America was the place to be. No one in Ireland wanted to hear him play the blues. If any race of people knew the blues, it was the Irish. They didn’t need the likes of him to remind them.
The sound of the latch turning on the door snapped Kieran out of his thoughts. He opened his eyes to a short, scruffy-faced man whose belly preceded him into the room, as did the smell of the man’s sweat-stained shirt. Kieran’s heart leapt in his chest. As unsavory as Murphy was, the man still held his livelihood in the palm of his hand.
Kieran hauled himself out of the old sofa and strode over to the sullen little man and snatched the envelope out of his hands, tearing open the flap. His anticipation died at the contents.
“What is this then? Forty euro?”
“What can I say, boyo? Slow night.” Murphy shrugged, totally unsympathetic.
“What am I supposed to do with forty fecking euro?” Kieran tossed the money onto the table beside the slapper’s note, then ran his fingers through his hair. He knew his pay was based on the amount of drinks sold at the bar during his performance times. This forty euro told Kieran sales had been poor tonight. He knew it wasn’t true, but getting Murph to admit it would be like trying to convince the man that a bath would make him a more pleasant person, or at least less of an assault on people around him.
“That’s your problem, not mine. But if ye don’t start bringin’ in the punters, I’ll be finding me someone else to take me stage and ye’ll be out on yer arse, wishin’ ye were still bringin’ in the forty feckin’ euro for ninety minutes of that catterwallerin’ ye call music.” Murph stepped through the door to leave, then turned back. He grinned, showing missing front teeth. “Don’t look so glum, lad. Ye could be on the Dole.”
“Feck off with yourself, Murph!” Kieran launched the pint glass at the door as it shut behind The Little Man. Shards of glass sprayed out, stout staining the door and wall. He heard the old man laughing in the corridor.
Anger rose in him. Not at Murph, but at himself. A blues guitarist wasn’t going to get noticed playing in a two-bit pub on Dublin’s Northside. The Irish wanted U2, Boyzone and Paddy fecking Casey, not a wannabe blues guitarist like Kieran Vaughan.
He loved playing the blues. The blues ran through his blood as if it were his own special life force. But if he was going to get noticed, he was going to have to go to America. He abhorred the idea of it, but he loved the music. He just hated the thought of leaving Ireland more. And Gráinne. She was all he had left. And if he lost her for the sake of a pipedream, he would be nothing and there would be nothing left for him to live for.
If I want a better life I have to do something about it.
He’d suffered through years of bloody fingers from long hours practicing on steel strings to play to the best of his abilities. He’d thought he was getting somewhere with his last music venture, only to see it destroyed before his eyes because of a dishonest business partner. It seemed like years of one step forward and two steps back. Now he found himself resorting to playing in seedy pubs to repay his debts and no hopes of getting heard. He was failing to make something of all his hard work.
Holding onto his tattered pride was getting more difficult each day. There had to be a compromise somewhere. There just had to be.
Just once he’d like to be offered the brass ring and go for it.
Just once he wanted something in his life to go the way he’d planned.
Just once he wanted to be someone.
Fed up, he kicked the guitar case lid closed and flipped the latch with his booted toe. He shrugged into his leather jacket and shoved the forty euro into his pocket. He considered the note on the table. Maybe this Eilis could help him forget his troubles, at least for tonight. But the thought if it disgusted him. He just wanted to go home.
Guitar in hand, he flipped up his jacket collar and headed for the back door.
The weather outside The Little Man Pub was better than inside, even though it was pissing rain. The dark side lane suited his dark mood. Thanks to late night mischief-makers, there were few working streetlights, which is why a car just missed him as it sped past. Its tire hit a pothole and splashed dirty rainwater up the front of him.
“Feckin’ hell!” he bit out for the second time tonight. “Bloody feckin’ hell.”

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